Struggles continue for Kannapolis-based Formula One race team

Struggles continue for Kannapolis-based Formula One race team

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (WBTV) - From Rich Energy Haas F1 Team Pit Notes: The Kannapolis-based Rich Energy Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen finished 16th and 19th in Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix, the ninth round of the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria.

“A disappointing race, obviously. Running around like that is negatively amazing. After qualifying in fifth position, to then have a race like this, I can’t say anything other than it’s disappointing. We’ll keep working on it, try to get a better understanding of why this kind of performance is happening from qualifying to the race. We just do not understand it, at the moment we have no clue," said Team Principal Guenther Steiner.

In extremely hot and sunny conditions, Magnussen started 10th and did his best to hold position on a set of Pirelli P Zero Red soft tires around the 4.318-kilometer (2.683-mile), 10-turn circuit. He managed to do so over the opening nine laps but then began dropping positions quickly. He pitted from 15th on lap 12 for a set of White hard tires, before switching to Red softs late in the race. Along the way, he was required to serve a drive-through penalty for moving before the start signal was given on the grid.

“We didn’t have any pace today in the race after qualifying P5 yesterday," Magnussen said. "It’s disappointing after a very good day on Saturday. It’s strange, and very frustrating. Nothing was really working, it felt pretty hopeless. It’s really confusing.”

Grosjean began the race on Yellow medium tires from his 11th grid position but quickly dropped four spots on the opening lap. He made those tires last for 35 laps before finally pitting for a set of hards from the 16th position. He resumed in 16th and held that position to the finish.

“It’s a tough one, it’s really hard to understand where the grip is going, and how we can make the car go faster," Grosjean said. "I had no grip on those first few laps, then just no pace in the race. It’s been a very difficult afternoon with no balance, I was fighting the car as hard as I could. We’re in a very difficult situation. We’ll work on it, we’ll find it, it may take some time. I’m sure our guys have got the resources to get on top of our issues. There’s obviously just something that we’re not doing quite right.”

With today’s results, Rich Energy Haas F1 Team remained ninth in the constructor’s championship with 16 points, one behind eighth-place Toro Rosso and 16 ahead of 10th-place Williams.

Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen made a late-race pass of Charles Leclerc to score the victory, crossing the finish line 2.724 ahead of the Scuderia Ferrari driver. It was Verstappen’s sixth career win and second in a row at Spielberg. Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes took the final podium position of third.

The 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship resumes July 14 with the British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit.

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